Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection
Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."
Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.
The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.
Vin - Fiz. Multicolor illustrated print commemorating the C. P. Rodgers flight across the United states, and advertising Vin - Fiz grape drink. A map of the United States in yellow and green is overlaid with collages in the upper left and lower right, made up of ovoid photographic insets of the pilot, airplane (Wright EX biplane, named "Vin Fiz"), events (such as crashes and landings) of the transcontinental flight, and rail car that housed Rodgers and family and carried mechanics and spare parts for airplane. Partial text: at top center, in green lettering with vine details, "Vin - Fiz" with a bunch of purple grapes bisecting text. Text inset at bottom, left hand corner lists "statistics" of the airplane.
Text in red and white throughout the poster:
THE IDEAL DRINK
Route of C.P. Rodgers in his
flight from coast to coast."
- Country of Origin
- United States of America
- Armour & Co.
- Calbraith Perry Rodgers
- ART-Posters, Original Art Quality
- Poster, Advertising
- 2-D - In Frame (H x W x D): 78.1 x 103cm (30 3/4 x 40 9/16 in.)